Amidst The Chaos And Disruption Of COVID-19, British Business Owners Are Craving Financial Control, A New Report Reveals

Asto’s Cash Flow Revolution report reveals less than a third of business owners or freelancers feel in control of their money. Covid-19 leaves nearly 70% of young business owners struggling with cash flow.

UK’s smallest businesses hit hardest by Covid-19 as work streams and cash flow become biggest headaches.

  • A new report from cash flow management app Asto reveals that business owners and freelancers are more concerned with feeling in control of their finances than turning a profit or paying themselves a salary.
  • Asto surveyed over 1,000 business owners to create The Cash Flow Revolution report, which includes contributions from financial expert Alex Holder and input from real business owners around the UK. 

Tuesday 17th November 2020, London UK:

Today, Asto, the small business finance and bookkeeping fintech by Santander, launches the Cash Flow Revolution – a report containing qualitative and quantitative research into the issues affecting British business owners.

Created with author and finance guru Alex Holder, the report is designed to change the conversation around business finances and empower business owners, freelancers and sole traders to take control of their finances.

The Cash Flow Revolution Report, illustrations by Ty Dale

The report reveals that 53% of business owners define good financial health as feeling in control of their finances. This is more important to business owners than turning a profit (45%), their worries about paying themselves or employees a salary (32%).

Despite this, only 31% of business owners, freelancers and sole traders feel like they’re in control of their money. A greater number (36%) identify feelings of stress, uncertainty or insecurity when it comes to their business’ cash flow.

Further findings reveal that business owners find digital tools and platforms useful for managing their money, with only 21% say they prefer not to use digital tools. A problem arises in connecting business owners with the right tools to solve their problems though, with just over a third (38%) saying they know where to find these tools. More than half (52%) find the information targeted at business owners confusing.

Money Mindsets

Asto’s Money Mindsets, illustrations by Ty Dale

 When creating The Cash Flow Revolution report, Asto analysed data from over 1,000 business owners to map out six distinct Money Mindsets – rough guides to help business owners identify themselves and address the specific challenges they face when it comes to money. These mindsets also help business owners find the tools that are right for them.


  •   TheDigital Collaborator – aspirational entrepreneurs who find talking about money and technology essential to running their businesses
  •   The Conscious Grafter– confident, optimistic entrepreneurs who prioritise giving back to their community over growing profit margins
  •   The Enterprising Rationalist– adaptive and independent thinkers motivated to run businesses to secure their financial futures
  •   The Canny Pragmatist– calm and focused business owners who are prepared for the financial challenges ahead and have the tools to take them on
  •   The Headstrong Traditionalist, – resilient entrepreneurs who tackle financial challenges in return for an independent working life
  •   The Bold Risk Taker – risk takers who are focused on business growth and making money, despite being burned by bad decisions


Business headaches

The report also identifies the biggest headaches and pressures facing business owners at the moment:

  • Keeping a steady flow of work – 23%
  • Maintaining a work/life balance – 11%
  • Chasing late payments – 10%
  • Keeping up to date with legislation and regulations – 8%
  • Paperwork & admin – 9%
  • Managing business cash flow and accounts – 7%


In addition to this, a third of business owners (33%) cited closure or disruption resulting from COVID-19 as the biggest single challenge their business has ever faced.


The report also reveals that many small businesses are struggling to find the right tools and information in order to be able to manage the financial side of their business, with 2 in 5 (38%) small businesses admitting that they don’t know where to look to find the right tools for managing their business – and over half (52%) finding information targeted at business owners confusing.

Furthermore, the report finds that many small businesses have resorted to business loans (31%), falling back on credit cards and dipping into personal funds (48%) to ease financial pressure on their business. One in ten (12%) have had to resort to borrowing money from friends and family in order to keep their businesses afloat.

Nicolette Maury, CEO of Asto UK, commented:

“Business owners, freelancers and sole traders are the backbone of British industry, and they need help now more than ever. This report highlights a real gap in support for those who need it the most. We hope these money mindsets can help business owners make informed choices about their finances as they face significant disruption and challenges in an uncertain economic climate.

At Asto, we’ve always known that different people need different support, which is why we maintain a flexible approach to our products. This report has highlighted exactly how vast these differences can be, and it’s fascinating to see the different Money Mindsets brought to life through the brilliant contributor businesses we’ve worked with.”

Alex Holder, Author of Open Up: Why Talking About Money Will Change Your Life, commented:

”I’m a big advocate for talking about money – and the most important conversation you can have is with yourself. As this data shows, having a sense of control over one’s business finances is essential for business owners trying to navigate trying economic times. We need to support business owners more than ever, and it’s been brilliant to work with Asto to design this report to enable business owners to recognise their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to money. Helping them find tools and solutions that suit them to help them achieve their goals as a business owner – whether that’s providing for their family, becoming the next big thing or simply staying afloat.”


Note to Editors

Data taken from a survey of 1,004 small business owners, freelancers and sole traders based in the UK in June 2020.


Contact details:

Harriet Allner, Associate Director at Common Industry


Tom Davis, Senior Account Manager at Common Industry


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About Asto:

Asto believes that no good business should fail for want of time, support or access to finance. We’re empowering business owners to manage their cash flow simply and practically, at anytime and anywhere – so they can spend more time doing what they love.

Asto, part of the Santander Group, aims to help small businesses manage their cash flow through technology and simple business tools and financing products that empower them to keep cash flowing.

Asto currently offers its simple bookkeeping tools via the Asto app on iOS and working capital loans (Asto Business Capital) to help small business owners access funds to cover short-term cash flow gaps and to invest in growth opportunities.

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